The Coattail Rider is the person who has a great relationship with a key executive or customer and leverages the relationship in every situation.
This is the son or daughter of the owner or a great friend of the general manager who makes it very clear to everyone in the organization that the key to success is the relationship with the boss rather than the results that are achieved. While this person has a big title, other people realize that if they want to get anything done they are going to have to work around this person. The Coattail Rider becomes one of the major obstacles for people and is ultimately rendered pointless as a leader of any significance.
Not every relative or friend of the boss is a Coattail Rider. Many are extraordinary performers and deserve their position. Just be careful that you never allow your relationship with your boss to be the primary driver of future promotions.
Two Questions to Avoid The Coattail Rider Disastrous Leadership Approach
1. When you try to influence other people do you somehow insert into the conversation or somehow make it clear that the other person should consider your relationship with the boss before making a decision?
2. How can you make your influence to the other person only about what is best for the overall business and not what is best for you?